Summary: What can we learn for our lives today from what happened to Israel as they left Egypt and went through the desert? A. Christ lavishes his spiritual blessings on all of us B. Warning! Don't arrogantly abuse his goodness C. Only his faithfulness sustains us

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

Theme: Divine Lessons From Israel's History

A. Christ lavishes his spiritual blessings on all of us

B. Warning! Don't arrogantly abuse his goodness

C. Only his faithfulness sustains us

Season: Lent 3c

Date: March 7, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts in Christ is 1 Corinthians 10

"For I do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, that all our fathers were under the cloud and all went through the sea. All were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. All ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were drinking from the spiritual rock that accompanied them. That rock was Christ.

"But God was not pleased with the majority of them, for they were done away with in the desert.

"Now these things were examples for us, in order that we are not desirous for evil as they desired it. Do not be idolaters as some of them, just as it's written: "The people sat to eat and drink and got up to play." Let us not practice sexual immorality as some of them did, and 23,000 fell in one day. Let us not put Christ to the test as some of them did, and they were being destroyed by the poisonous snakes. Don't grumble as some of them did, and they were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them as examples and were written to admonish us, for whom the end of the ages has arrived.

"Therefore, whoever thinks he's standing firm, let him watch out, lest he fall. No temptation has seized you except what's human. But God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you're able, but along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, namely, being able to bear up. " (1 Corinthians 10:1-13)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

You know the history of the children of Israel's exodus from Egypt. You know their journey through the desert wilderness for forty years. You've learned those details from little on up. Those dramatic events have captured the imagination of Hollywood. Cecil B. DeMille's epic The Ten Commandments is still rerun on television each year. Other retellings have been produced such as the cartoon The Prince of Egypt. Other shows spoof it such as Moe and the Big Exit. You know those events well.

But what does it mean for you and me? Do you know that? Why did God have these historical events recorded in his Word for us to read, learn, think about, and meditate on still today? And if you know the answer to those questions, are you putting it into practice and applying it to your daily life? Do the divine lessons from these events direct your thoughts and attitude? Do they impact your feelings and emotions? Do they transform your words and actions? Yes, even when we know the lesson, how far we still have to go so that the lesson is part of our inner being, filling our hearts and overflowing into our lives! So today, dear friends, let the Holy Spirit through the words he gave the Apostle Paul, teach you divine lessons from Israel's history and empower you to put them into practice.

A. Christ lavishes his spiritual blessings on all of us

1. What blessings does Baptism lavish on us?

In the first divine lesson we see Christ lavishing his blessings on the people of Israel. He rescued them from slavery in Egypt. Freedom! Deliverance! He humbled the Egyptians with the Ten Plagues and then led his people out going before them as pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Picture that pillar of cloud leading the people. When they saw the cloud go before them, they knew the Lord was guiding them. And when the Egyptians pursued them and pinned them against the Red Sea, the cloud protected them. It went between them and the Egyptians, bringing darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites as the Lord made a dry path through the Red Sea for his people to cross. Then with his people safely on the other side, the water came crashing down on their enemies destroying them. Through the cloud and the sea he had marked these people as his own chosen people, rescued through the hand of his servant Moses.

And in Baptism, dear friends, he has marked you as his people. He has lavished his great blessings on you. Baptism freed you from the power of your sin to condemn you, for your guilt was washed away. Baptism delivered you from slavery to Satan, for you were reborn as a child of God. Baptism rescued you from the fear of death, for it is the water of eternal life. Baptism daily drowns the enemy within you. And you don't need to wonder whether Baptism could really do such great things for someone like you. For you see, our Savior graciously makes those promises to all who are baptized. For those lavish blessings of Baptism are yours through faith alone, not based on your merit or work, but based on God's gracious promises only, which your faith clings to.

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